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Location Panama
Central coordinates 78o 43.00' West  8o 46.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii
Area 29,700 ha
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Sociedad Audubon de Panamá

Site description The Chimán Wetlands include extensive mudflats (11,400 ha), up to three km wide, and coastal mangroves (18,300 ha) from the Ensenada de Corral at the mouth of the La Maestra River eastward to Punta Bruja, at the base of the Serranía de Majé). The site merges with the Upper Bay of Panama IBA to the west. Short rivers from the Serranía drain into the area, including the Platanares and Chimán. There are small villages at Chimán at the mouth of the Chimán River and at Punta Brujas, and a few other settlements inland.

Key Biodiversity The site is an important area for migratory shorebirds. The highest single day count was 11,663 in October 1991, of which 6,044 were small shorebirds. Taking turnover into account, 22,000 small shorebirds may use the area during autumn migration. Based on one-day counts, this area may contain 1.7% of the North American population of Whimbrel.

Non-bird biodiversity: Neotropical River Otter, Crab-eating Raccoon, and American Crocodile probably occur.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus winter  1988-1997  2,008 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri winter  1988-1993  19,000 individuals  poor  A4i  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1988-1993  20,000-49,999 individuals  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bahía de Panamá Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 48,919 protected area is adjacent to site 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats  38%
Forest Mangrove  62%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture major
agriculture minor
rangeland/pastureland minor

Protection status The area is unprotected.

References Angehr, George R. 2003. Directorio de areas importantes para aves en Panama. Directory of important bird areas in Panama. Panama: Sociedad Audubon de Panama. Morrison, R. I. G., R. W. Butler, E. S. Delgado, and R. K. Ross. 1998. Atlas of Nearctic shorebirds and other waterbirds on the coast of Panama. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Chimán Wetlands. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife